Everything Your Dog Can and Cannot Eat

You've undoubtedly heard stories about dogs who love beer, or dogs who were "just fine" after eating an entire chocolate bar. The validity of these stories is questionable at best, but if you've witnessed a similar scenario, it's important to remember this sobering fact: Over half of U.S. households have a dog or a cat, and half of those pets will make at least one visit to the veterinarian for a food-related illness, according to research from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dog with watermelon
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Pet parents often see their dogs rifling through a garbage can or raiding an unlocked pantry and after eating everything in sight — people mistakenly determine that their dogs are indestructible because they were seemingly unharmed after eating foods veterinary researchers deem toxic. This is what is known to science as a cognitive distortion or more commonly referred to as a "thinking error." A thinking error is when we convince ourselves of something that isn't true. These inaccuracies are used to reinforce stubbornly held beliefs that are not supported by empirical evidence.

Humans suffer from thinking errors on a regular basis. But when it comes to canine diet and nutrition, their beloved dogs often pay the price in poor health, stunted lifespan and reduced quality of life.

The impact of toxins, hormonal imbalances and micronutrient deficiencies due to uninformed dietary choices are not always immediately noticeable in dogs. But regular exposure to these vectors over a period of time result in disease and bodily failure that are potentially fatal.

It's important for all pet parents to understand the basics of canine nutrition so that our dogs live healthy, vigorous lives.

Dog feeding basics

Dogs are among the many mammalian animals in the Carnivora order who share similar tooth structures and intestinal tracts. The dietary needs of carnivores vary. Both big cats and house cats, for instance, are obligate carnivores and must derive all of their nutrition from meat. Herbivores consume plant material to obtain their daily nutritional needs, while dogs and their humans are omnivores who need to eat a combination of meats and plants.

Your dog is not a wolf and should not eat like one. Because they are omnivorous, eating fruits and vegetables is as natural to dogs as eating steak or chewing bones. The source of a protein or fat is much less significant than the quality and digestibility. While dogs can maintain a healthy lifestyle on a balanced vegetarian diet, a strictly carnivorous diet will not meet all of their daily macronutrient and micronutrient needs.

Dogs require a steady flow of proteins, amino acids, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins. Although carbohydrates are not a required nutrient for wild dogs or their wolven ancestors, the digestive tracts of the contemporary "house" dog have evolved to use carbohydrates as a source of energy. Domesticated dogs have the digestive enzymes that are specific for processing starches and sugars. However, complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and quinoa are challenging for dogs to digest, unless they are cooked.

german shepherd and two steaks
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Recommended daily macronutrient needs for dogs

Dogs need energy to fetch, play and even sleep. Energy is measured in calories, and it comes from three primary dietary components that are known as macronutrients. Although required in different ratios, dogs need the same macronutrients that humans do: proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

While macronutrient ratios for dogs will vary depending on age, size and even breed, the general guidelines for a dog's macronutrient needs are:

  • Protein: 18-25 percent of daily caloric intake
  • Fats: 8-15 percent of daily caloric intake
  • Carbohydrates: 60-74 percent of daily caloric intake

Dogs have wildly varying daily caloric needs depending on their stage of life, activity level and size.

infographic of daily calorie needs for dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Recommended daily micronutrient needs for dogs

Micronutrients are dietary components that are vital to development, disease prevention and wellbeing. Often referred to as vitamins and minerals, long-term deficiencies in micronutrients can have devastating health impacts for canines. Ensuring that your dog has his or her daily micronutrient needs met is vitally important to their health.

What vitamins do dogs need? Dogs require many of the same daily vitamins that humans need: B vitamins, choline, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and vitamin K.

Recommended Daily Dose of Vitamins for Dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Do dogs need minerals?

There are 12 mineral that are commonly known as essential minerals, and, like humans, dogs need a daily dose to maintain their health and vigor. The essential minerals for dogs are: calcium, chlorine, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Recommended Daily Dose of Minerals for Dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Alternative diet trends for dogs

Gluten-free nutrition, raw food, holistic and natural diets — all are fodder for dogs living in food-obsessed Western households. While pet parents in the U.S. and beyond nurture their own trendy eating disorders at an alarming rate, dogs are also subject to the latest fad diets that their owners have embraced.

Dog food manufacturers produce a variety of products to meet both the needs of our lovable, hungry dogs and their demanding owners who themselves adopt several diet trends each year, according to research from Seattle Children's Hospital.

In the increasingly hyper-mediated age of marketing, it's important to be able to navigate the growing number of labels plastering containers of dog food at the pet store. Most of which, it should be noted, are meaningless or misleading at best.

Natural Diets
The term "natural" is defined as a "feed or ingredient derived solely from plant, animal or mined source, either in its unprocessed state or having been subjected to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing an additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as may occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices" by officials with the Association of American Feed Control.

Translation: "Natural" doesn't necessarily mean unprocessed. Unscrupulous dog-food manufacturers can pay a premium to label their products as natural, but, in fact, the contents could be exactly the same as their non-natural, conventional competitors.

Organic Diets It's important to understand that dog food labeled as "natural" and "organic" are not interchangeable. Dod food labeled as "organic" must meet the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program.

Raw Diets The raw diet nutritional philosophy is popular among pet owners who wish to feed domesticated dogs as if they were still in the wild. While it's true that free-roaming dogs often eat animals; it's also common for these same dogs to become infected with parasites and need veterinarian treatment days after contact. House dogs simply aren't as wild as many humans like to believe.

Moreover, large-scale meat production has severely diminished the quality of raw meat found in U.S. grocery stores. The meat is often riddled with pathogens and bacterias like salmonella that require it to be cooked before safe consumption. If you insist on feeding dogs a raw diet, it is important to provide them with organic grass-fed, hormone-free meat.

Remember, the impact of eating raw food or toxic ingredients like chocolate may not be immediately noticeable, but dogs will suffer health implications from poor dietary practices as a result of long-term, regular exposure.

Vegetarian Diets
While dogs are omnivorous and can meet their daily nutritional requirements through a vegetarian diet, a recent study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association evaluated 24 commercially-available vegetarian dog foods and found that only eight met their label requirements.

Dogs need protein and amino acids daily. Unless a pet parent is a veterinary dietician, it is extremely difficult to regularly provide dogs with all of the nutrients they require. When dog-food brands do not deliver on their promises — which, this study reveals is common — dogs suffer nutrient deficiencies that lead to a multiple health problems that can diminish both their longevity and quality of life.

Jack russell terrier dog with broccoli.
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Holistic Diets

Holistic is a term that is often used to market dog food. However, "holistic" is an unregulated labeling convention and has no meaning, according to the Association of American Feed Control.

Grain-Free Diets "Grain-Free" is a marketing term and not a regulated food label. Dogs do not need grains in their diets; so this distinction is more of a non-issue that is branded to pet parents who themselves eat a grain-free diet. In addition, there may be a link between dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a dangerous heart condition, and grain-free diets, although we're not sure yet.

Grains are a common ingredient in many commercially-available dog foods. The term "grain free" does not necessarily mean carbohydrate free. Many grain-free dog products contain foods like potatoes or tapioca as carbohydrate sources.

Homemade Diets
Homemade diets are increasingly popular, and crafty pet parents are leading the charge by preparing nutritious meals at home for their dogs. This nutrition movement is often more expensive and time consuming, but many dog owners find it a rewarding experience that brings them closer to their loved ones.

It's important to prepare balanced meals when adopting a homemade dietary strategy for your dog. Thankfully, Cuteness offers a library of nutritious recipes and dietary information that will help you cook quality meals for your dog.

What should I feed my dog?

Dogs have six basic requirements from their diet: water, protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Commercial dog foods are formulated to meet these nutritional needs, which makes large bags of dry kibble or tins of wet food convenient and effective options.

While providing a balanced and nutritious diet is the primary goal, dogs get bored of eating the same thing everyday. Feeding dogs a variety of foods will keep them happy at mealtime, but be aware that sudden changes in diet can disrupt a dog's gastrointestinal flora, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Your dog's diet can be altered, just make small changes gradually over a period of time to ensure that they don't experience any unintended consequences of new, healthy foods.

How to use this guide

This guide will help you determine which foods are safe for dogs to eat, which foods are toxic, and which foods that are technically safe, but should be avoided. The guide is split into several sections:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meats, Dairy and Proteins
  • Grains, Legumes and Nuts
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Common Houseplants
  • Human Things (think alcohol and snacks)

A quick note about categorization This guide has grouped fruits and vegetables consistent with how botanists and nutritionists classify them. Fruits are seed-bearing structures from the ovaries of flowering plants. Whereas vegetables are other plant parts like roots, leaves and stems. Seedy produce like apples, tomatoes and squash are fruits, while beets, turnips and chard are all vegetables.

Which vegetables can dogs eat?

Vegetables are a fun way to spice up mealtime, and dogs typically enjoy eating them. Dogs can safely eat most tubers and vegetables, but there are a few exceptions.

An infographic of the vegetables dogs can and cannot eat.
credit: Ryan Tronier

Can dogs eat artichokes?

Yes, dogs can eat artichokes. Artichokes contain a healthy amount of antioxidants, folic acid, niacin, potassium and vitamin C. These nutrients prevent illness and support a dog's immune system and hormonal health.

Can dogs eat arugula?

Yes, dogs can eat arugula. Arugula is a popular cruciferous green that contains folate, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Some dogs have difficulty digesting many of the green vegetables, and arugula may cause gas or runny stools and gastrointestinal issues.

Can dogs eat asparagus?

Yes, dogs can eat asparagus. Low in calories and rich in essential vitamins and minerals, asparagus is safe for dogs to eat. However, because it is difficult for many dogs to chew and digest asparagus, there are a wide variety of other vegetables that offer similar benefits, but are consumed with less difficulty. Cutting asparagus into small pieces will not only make eating asparagus easier for dogs, but it will also reduce choking hazards.

Can dogs eat bamboo shoots?

Yes, dogs can eat bamboo. Bamboo shoots are the edible part of the bamboo plant and are safe for dogs to eat as long as the bamboo has been cooked and cut into small pieces.

Can dogs eat beets?

Yes, dogs can eat beets. High in fiber, folate, manganese and vitamin C, beets are good for dogs' immune systems and help keep coats shiny. While serving dogs raw vegetables can be difficult for their digestive systems, dogs can eat both cooked and raw beets.

Can dogs eat broccoli?

Yes, dogs can eat broccoli. However, be aware that broccoli florets contain isothiocyanates, which is a compound that can cause mild to severe gastric irritation in some dogs. Aside from the potential for allergic reactions, broccoli is a low-calorie food ideal for dogs on calorie-restricted or low-fat diets.

Can dogs eat Brussels sprouts?

Yes, dogs can eat Brussels sprouts. Aside from the potential of gas, intestinal distress or the odd case of diarrhea, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin K. Opting for cooked over raw Brussels sprouts can mitigate the risk of gastrointestinal complications.

Can dogs eat cabbage?

Yes, dogs can eat cabbage. Cruciferous and green, cabbage comes in dozens of varieties that are all safe for dogs to eat. Red cabbage, radicchio, endive and green cabbage are anti-inflammatories that support the immune system and are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Be sure to serve dogs cooked cabbage because neither dogs or their pet parents will enjoy the gassy, messy consequences of consuming raw cabbage.

Can dogs eat carrots?

Yes, dogs can eat carrots. Full of betacarotene and vitamin A, carrots are a nutritious treat for dogs that are ideal for dogs who are on a diet.

Can dogs eat cauliflower?

Yes, dogs can eat cauliflower. Cauliflower is a healthy source of calcium, folate, fiber, potassium and vitamin K. It's even a decent source of phytoprotein. Cooking cauliflower before serving to dogs will reduce the severity of gas.

Can dogs eat celery?

Yes, dogs can eat celery. Celery can be safely fed to dogs who will benefit from its powerful anti-inflammatory properties that include lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure. Celery is a low-calorie, low-fat snack that is beneficial for obese or diabetic dogs. Celery can be served raw, but be sure to reduce any choking risk by cutting into small pieces.

Can dogs eat chard?

Yes, dog can eat chard. Packed with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, chard supports the health of a dog's colon, liver, immune system and vision. Be warned: similar to kale, chard does contain calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates which can cause kidney and bladder stones, hypothyroidism and severe gastric irritation. However, dogs would need to eat regular, large quantities of chard to risk these types of ailments.

Can dogs eat chives?

No, dogs cannot eat chives. Chives are mildly to moderately toxic to dogs. High doses of chives can cause damage to the red blood cells which can lead to anemia. If your dog has eaten chives, then watch for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or elevated heart rate.

Can dogs eat corn?

Yes, but dogs probably shouldn't eat corn. Corn is not toxic. However, due its high concentration of dietary fibers, corn is hard for dogs to digest — and consumption may result in the usual symptoms of gastrointestinal distress like gas, vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid feeding corn on the cob to dogs because there is a high likelyhood of choking.

Can dogs eat fennel?

Yes, dogs can eat fennel. Fennel is technically an herb belonging to the carrot family and is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, manganese and potassium. Unlike the stems, leaves and seeds of many fruits and vegetables, dogs can eat all parts of the fennel plant without hazard.

Can dogs eat garlic?

No, dogs cannot eat garlic. Garlic is toxic to dogs. Along with onions and leeks, garlic is a member of the allium family which contains N-propyl disulfide — a compound that causes anemia, internal organ failure and, in some cases, even death.

If your dogs eats a bite of garlic from a stolen piece of pizza, watch him or her for signs of digestive issues or dark, amber urine. Dogs who have eaten an entire bulb of garlic should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat ginger?

Yes, dog can eat ginger! Ginger is as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. Ginger is a popular anti-inflammatory for dogs that reduces joint pain, alleviates symptoms of arthritis, improves cardiovascular health and can ease digestive issues.

You can feed your dog fresh, raw ginger after removing the skin and mincing. Be aware: Ginger can give dogs heartburn and upset stomachs when they eat too much. The recommended dose is 1/2 teaspoon for dogs under 35 pounds, 1/4 teaspoon for miniature breeds and 3/4 tsp for larger dogs.

Can dogs eat green beans?

Yes, dogs can eat green beans. Green beans are a healthy low-calorie option for dogs who are on a low-fat diet. Green beans are a good source of fiber, vitamin K, beta carotene and folate. Dogs can eat cooked or raw green beans, but canned green beans are too salty and should be avoided.

Can dogs eat horseradish?

Yes, but dogs should avoid eating horseradish. While it does not contain capsicum like jalapeño or habanero, horseradish falls in the spicy spectrum of food types. Dogs simply aren't built to consume and digest hot, spicy foods like horseradish.

Can dogs eat jicama?

Yes, dogs can eat jicama — but the stems, leaves and vines of the jicama plant are toxic to dogs. Jicama is packed with fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and copper. Dogs can eat both cooked and raw jicama. Be sure to remove the skin from jicama because canines cannot digest it, and the skin could cause intestinal blockage.

Can dogs eat kale?

Yes, but dogs should avoid kale. The calcium oxalate and isothiocyanates in kale cause kidney and bladder stones, hypothyroidism and severe gastric irritation. Dogs who consume kale will most likely not exhibit symptoms immediately. However, over time, the build up of these toxic compounds can have a powerful impact on the health and wellness of your dog.

Can dogs eat kohlrabi?

Yes, dogs can eat kohlrabi. Along with cabbage and broccoli, kohlrabi is a member of the Brassica oleracea family and is rich in calcium, folate, phosphorous, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Raw kohlrabi can be difficult for dogs to digest. Mitigate the risk of a gassy dog by cooking the kohlrabi before serving it.

Can dogs eat leeks?

No, dogs cannot eat leeks. Leeks are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Along with onions and garlic, leeks are in the Allium family and are known to cause hemolytic anemia.

A small amount of leek will most likely only cause dogs digestional discomfort, but large quantities of leek can cause organ failure and even death. If your dog has eaten leek, watch for increased panting, an elevated heart rate, vomiting and bloody urine. Take your dog to the veterinarian if they exhibit these signs after consuming leeks.

Can dogs eat lettuce?

Yes, dogs can eat lettuce. Lettuce is mostly water and presents no real danger to dogs, outside of causing gas. Be sure to throughly wash lettuce before serving to dogs because of the frequency of recalls of leafy-green vegetables contaminated by E. coli and listeria.

Can dogs eat mushrooms?

Yes, at least, dogs can eat the varieties of mushrooms that are safe for human consumption. Although they are not toxic, dogs should avoid eating mushrooms. Most often, mushroom will cause stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, mushroom poisoning may lead to permanent liver or kidney damage.

Can dogs eat nori?

Yes, dogs can eat culinary seaweed products like nori. However, dogs should never eat seaweed directly from the beach or seaweed that has been dried in the sun. The drying process shrinks these types of seaweed, and they can expand in the digestive track and cause intestinal blockage.

Can dogs eat okra?

Yes, dogs can eat okra. Okra is a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Serving dogs cooked okra mitigates the risk of stomach issues. The cooking process breaks down the fibrous exterior of the okra and makes it easier to digest.

Can dogs eat onions?

No, dogs cannot eat onions. Onions are toxic to dogs. Along with garlic and chives, onions are members of the Allium family and are known to cause hemolytic anemia. A small amount of onion will most likely only cause dogs digestion discomfort, but consuming large quantities can cause organ failure and even death. Health risks of onions are the same regardless of variety or whether the onions are cooked or raw. Dogs should not even eat onion-flavored food products.

If your dog has eaten onion watch for increased panting, an elevated heart rate, vomiting and bloody urine. Take your dog to the veterinarian if they exhibit these signs after consuming onions.

Can dogs eat parsnips?

Yes, dogs can eat parsnips. Full of folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin E — parsnips are a nutrient-dense snack that is ideal for dogs on a low-fat or pancreatic diet. Although dogs can eat both raw and cooked parsnip, it's best to peel and cut the root into small pieces before serving to dogs; this avoids any chance of choking hazards.

Can dogs eat potatoes?

Yes, dogs can eat potatoes. But dogs should avoid raw potatoes. Raw potatoes contain solanine, which is toxic to dogs. Cooking potatoes breaks down the solanine and transforms potatoes into a healthy treat. Potatoes are rich with fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It's best to cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and serve them to dogs without any seasonings.

Can dogs eat radicchio?

Yes, dogs can eat radicchio. Loaded with B vitamins, copper, iron, vitamin K and zinc, dogs can eat both raw and cooked radicchio. With any variety of leafy green, be aware of digestive issues when dogs eat too much.

Can dogs eat radish?

Yes, dogs can eat radishes. Full of fiber, potassium and vitamin C, radishes help keep your dog's muscles and immune system healthy.

Can dogs eat rhubarb?

No, dogs cannot eat rhubarb. The calcium oxides in rhubarb are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. Dogs who show signs of tremors and excess saliva after eating rhubarb should go to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat rutabaga?

Yes, dogs can eat rutabaga. Brimming with folate and calcium, rutabaga is a fitting low-calorie snack for dogs who need to watch their weight. Unlike potatoes, which can only be eaten cooked, dogs can consume both cooked and raw rutabaga.

Can dogs eat shallots?

No, dogs cannot eat shallots. Like garlic and onions, shallots are toxic to dogs. Shallots contain N-propyl disulfide which can cause dogs digestion issues in small amounts and organ failure in large amounts. Dogs who eat shallots and show signs of weakness, exhaustion and a change in urine color should be taken to the veterinarian for observation.

Can dogs eat spinach?

Yes, dogs can eat spinach. Plentiful in antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamins, spinach is a healthy supplement to a dog's diet. However, spinach is also high in oxalic acid which blocks a dog's ability to absorb calcium. In large quantities, the oxalic acid in spinach can cause kidney damage to dogs. But a dog would need to regularly consume large quantities of spinach to develop organ damage.

Can dogs eat sweet potatoes?

Yes, dogs can eat sweet potatoes. Replete with B vitamins, potassium and vitamin C, sweet potatoes help maintain healthy eyes, muscles and immune system.

Dogs should only eat sweet potato that has been peeled and cooked. Raw sweet potato and its skin cause indigestion in dogs and can make them quite gassy. Dogs who are diabetic or overweight should limit their intake of sweet potato because of its high glycemic index.

Can dogs eat taro?

No, dogs should not eat taro root. Taro contains an insoluble version of calcium oxalates that is highly toxic to dogs. Dogs who exhibit symptoms after consuming taro such as oral irritation, excessive drooling and difficulty swallowing should visit the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat turnips?

Yes, dogs can eat turnips. Filled with folic acid, magnesium and vitamin B6, turnips support a dog's metabolism and nervous system. Turnips are known to stimulate kidney function and are often recommended food for dogs with kidney disease.

Can dogs eat wasabi?

No, dogs cannot eat wasabi. Wasabi isn't toxic to dogs, but dogs should avoid spicy foods because they can irritate their mouths and throats. Dogs also have difficulty digesting wasabi which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

Can dogs eat watercress?

No, dogs should not eat watercress. Watercress is toxic to dogs, and it contains gastrointestinal irritants that cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.

Can dogs eat yams?

Yes, dogs can eat yams. While often mistaken to be the same as its cousin, the sweet potato, yams offer similar benefits and should be served to dogs peeled and cooked.

Which fruits are safe for dogs to eat?

Yes, dogs can eat fruit. However, dogs don't need fruit as part of their diet. A dog's digestive system works differently than a human's, and many of the fruits that are beneficial to us, may actually be harmful to them.

As a general rule of thumb, dogs should only eat the fleshy parts of a fruit. They should avoid eating pits, seeds, leaves and stems. These parts of the fruit often contain trace amounts of cyanide that, over time, can lead to life-threatening health issues for dogs.

The skins of many fruits can be difficult for dogs to digest. While many owners don't notice, fruit skins most likely cause their dogs gas, loose stools and stomach discomfort.

Dogs should avoid the excessive sugars and preservatives in canned fruit and opt for fresh, organic produce whenever possible.

An infographic of the fruits that dogs can and cannot eat.
credit: Ryan Tronier

Can dogs eat apples?

Yes, dogs can eat apples. Packed with calcium, fiber and vitamin C, apples are a healthy way to satisfy your dogs sweet tooth. However, dogs should not eat apple seeds which contain low doses of cyanide. Cyanide is toxic to dogs.

If your dog eats too many apple seeds, watch for symptoms of cyanide poisoning including hyperventilation, seizures, tremors and collapse. Dogs who exhibit any of these signs after eating apple seeds need to go to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat apricots?

Yes, dogs can eat apricots. Rich in calcium and vitamin C, apricots help dogs maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and promote strong bones. Dogs should only eat the fleshy fruit of apricots and avoid the stem, leaves and pit. Apricot foliage contains trace amounts of cyanide. Even a small amount is toxic to dogs and can result in kidney failure.

Can dogs eat avocado?

No, dogs cannot eat avocado. Avocado contains persin, a fungicidal toxin, which can cause serious health problems for dogs including respiratory distress, edema and heart failure. Avocado pit and skin is the greatest cause for concern because it has the avocado plants' highest concentration of persin. However, some veterinary researches claim that avocado meat is too fatty for dogs and that, over time, regular consumption increases the risk of pancreatitis.

Can dogs eat bell peppers?

Yes, dogs can eat bell peppers. Loaded with beta-carotene, B-vitamins and vitamin C, bell peppers are a low-calorie treat that help dogs maintain healthy skin, coat and vision.

Can dogs eat blackberries?

Yes, dogs can eat blackberries. Blackberries are a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that help dogs maintain oral health, digestive regularity and active gut bacteria.

Can dogs eat blueberries?

Yes, dogs can eat blueberries. Blueberries are low in calories, but abundant in antioxidants. Blueberries have similar benefits for both dogs and humans: They reduce DNA damage, lower blood pressure and prevent heat disease.

Can dogs eat cantaloupe?

Yes, dogs can eat cantaloupe. Full of antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C, cantaloupe helps dogs fights inflammation and maintain a healthy coat. Cantaloupe is high in sugar; so dogs should only eat it in moderation. Dogs should only eat cantaloupe that has been peeled and cut into small pieces.

Can dogs eat cherries?

Yes, dogs can eat cherries. However, it's best for dogs to avoid cherries. Cherries pose more risks to dogs than other fruits because of their size. Because cherries are so small, they are mostly pit and stem — both of which contain trace amounts of cyanide which is toxic to dogs. Also, cherries are a perfectly-shaped choking hazards. If considering whether or not to feed cherries to your dog, be sure to remove the pit and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Can dogs eat chili peppers?

No, dogs cannot eat chili peppers. Dogs should never eat spicy foods. Bell peppers and sweet peppers are fine, but chili peppers get their spicy flavor from high concentrations of capsaicin. While capsaicin is not toxic to dogs, even eating a small amount can cause vomiting, diarrhea and burns in the mouth, throat and stomach.

Can dogs eat coconut?

Yes, dogs can eat coconut. Brimming with antioxidants and lauric acid, coconut decreases inflammation and boost dogs' immune systems. Dogs also benefit from coconut oil applied to their skin and coats. Dogs should only eat small amounts of coconut meat at a time to decrease the likelihood of upset stomachs and gas.

Can dogs eat cranberries?

Yes, dogs can eat cranberries. Packed with antioxidants and fiber, cranberries help dogs avoid infection and maintain healthy digestion. However, like most fruit, dogs should only eat both cranberries and dried cranberries sparingly because of the risk of digestive issues.

Can dogs eat cucumbers?

Yes, cucumber is perfectly safe for dogs to eat, and it's often used as an alternative to training treats. This crunchy, low-calorie snack is recommend for dogs who are on either a low-fat or weight-loss diet.

Can dogs eat currants?

No, dogs can not eat currants. Currants are essentially a dried, black seedless grape. Like all grapes and raisins, currants are also toxic to dogs. Ingestion of even a small amount of currants can result in kidney failure. If you suspect a dog of eating currents, and they are showing signs of abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea or thirst — take him or her to the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat dates?

Yes, dogs can eat dates. Rich in B vitamins and vitamin C, dates are a low-fat, cholesterol-free snack for healthy dogs. Overweight and obese dogs should not eat dates because they are sugary and high on the glycemic index. The pit presents a choking hazard to dogs; so be sure to only share small pieces of date with your dog.

Can dogs eat eggplants?

Yes, dogs can eat eggplants. Also known as aubergine, eggplant is low calorie and loaded with calcium and fiber, and it can be a good option for overweight and obese dogs. Because eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, some dogs can have an allergic reaction that presents as digestion discomfort or diarrhea. Cook eggplant before serving to dogs to make digestion easier.

Can dogs eat figs?

Yes, dogs can eat figs. While rich in fiber, figs are high in sugar; so dogs should only eat them sparingly.

Can dogs eat grapes?

No, dogs cannot eat grapes. Nor can dogs eat raisins, which are dried grapes. Veterinary researchers have yet to identify why grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs, but they are highly toxic, and exposure can result in death. Signs and symptoms of toxic ingestion are abdominal pain, dehydration, kidney failure, lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting. Dogs who eat grapes or raisins should be take to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat grapefruit?

Yes, dogs can eat grapefruit. However, dogs can only eat the fleshy fruit which is a good source of vitamin C. The rind, leaves, seeds and stem contain toxic essential oils and psoralens that will irritate a dog's skin and cause toxic reactions. Signs of grapefruit poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Dogs who eat a small amount of grapefruit rind will most likely only suffer mild gastrointestinal distress. Dogs who eat larger amounts should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat guava?

Yes, dogs can eat guava. Filled with dietary fiber and vitamin C, guava can be a healthy occasional treat for dogs. Dogs should only eat guava that has been peeled and de-seeded. As with most fruits, dogs should not eat the stem, leaves, peel or seeds of the guava plant.

Can dogs eat habanero chilis?

No, dogs cannot eat habaneros. Dogs should never be fed anything too spicy, and habaneros are among the spiciest peppers found in most households.

Habaneros get their heat and flavor from high levels of capsicum. Although capsicum isn't toxic to dogs, it will cause burns in the mouth, throat and digestive system. Habaneros may also cause vomiting, diarrhea and pain while defecating. Take dogs who have eaten habanero chilis to the veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat honeydew?

Yes, dogs can eat honeydew. Overflowing with dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, honeydew can be an occasional healthy snack for dogs. Because of the high sugar content, honeydew is not the best treat for dogs who are struggling with their weight.

Can dogs eat jalapeño?

No, dogs cannot eat jalapeños. Dogs should never consume spicy foods. While jalapeños are not toxic to dogs, they do contain capsicum. Capsicum will cause burns inside the mouth, throat and stomach. Jalapeños can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and pain while defecating.

A small amount of jalapeño, will most likely not cause your dog any symptoms other than discomfort. If a dog eats a large quantity of jalapeños, they should visit the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat kiwi?

Yes, dogs can eat kiwi. While kiwi is more beneficial for humans than it is for dogs, the fleshy portion of the fruit is high in both vitamin C and roughage. Though, roughage is a two-way street. A moderate amount is good for a dog's digestion, but too much can cause diarrhea.

Be sure to remove the fuzzy skin from the kiwi, and cut it into small pieces before sharing with your dog.

Can dogs eat kumquats?

Yes, dogs can eat kumquats, but not the peel, leaves or stems. While humans can eat kumquats whole, remove the peel before feeding to your dog. The rinds of citrus fruits contain oils that irritate dogs' skin and causes gastrointestinal distress.

Can dogs eat lemons?

No, dogs cannot eat lemons. While the pulpy fruit of a lemon is edible, the peel, leaves and stem are toxic to dogs. Lemon trees produce phytotoxic compounds called psoralens, linlool and limonene that cause excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting and low blood pressure with minor exposure, but loss of coordination, tremors and death in severe cases. Observe your dog closely for 48 hours when they've eaten lemons, and take them to the veterinarian if they exhibit any symptoms.

Can dogs eat limes?

No, dogs cannot eat limes. Like lemons, the fruit is edible, but the peel, leaves and stems contain psoralen which is toxic to dogs. Any contact can cause illness.

Symptoms of lime poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

Can dogs eat lychees?

Yes, dogs can eat lychees. However, the rough outer shell and pit should not be consumed.

Can dogs eat mango?

Yes, dogs can eat mangoes. Loaded with fiber, vitamin A and B vitamins, mango is a healthy treat for dogs as long as it's peeled and the pit is removed.

Can dogs eat melons?

Yes, dogs can eat melons. In fact, dogs can eat all varieties of melons — watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe — as long as the rinds have been removed. Also, whenever possible, dogs should avoid the seeds in melons. The seeds can cause intestinal blockage, and the rinds increase the likelihood of gas, diarrhea and upset stomach.

Can dogs eat nectarines?

Yes, dogs can eat nectarines. Dogs benefit from the fiber, magnesium and vitamin C in nectarines, but always remove the pit before sharing with your dog.

Can dogs eat olives?

Yes, dogs can eat olives. Olives are a nutritious source of copper, fiber, iron and vitamin E. However, they can be quite high is salt and fat — which always heightens the risk of a dog developing pancreatitis. But olives are perfectly safe in small quantities.

Can dogs eat oranges?

Yes, dogs can eat oranges. Oranges are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. But because of the high sugar content, oranges should only be eaten in moderation. The rind of an orange contains acidic citrus oils that many dogs find difficult to digest. For this reason, only feed dogs the fleshy fruit of oranges.

Can dogs eat papaya?

Yes, dogs can eat papaya. Rife with calcium, vitamin E and vitamin C, papaya keeps you dog's cardiovascular and immune systems healthy. Dogs should only eat the delicious, red fruit because papaya rinds and seeds contain cyanide which is toxic in large doses.

Can dogs eat peas?

Yes, dogs can eat peas. Peas contain healthy levels of vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin K. Your dog can enjoy unseasoned fresh, frozen or thawed peas, but avoid serving them canned peas. Like most canned vegetables intended for human consumption, canned peas contain high levels of sodium that are harmful to dogs.

Can dogs eat peaches?

Yes, dogs can eat peaches. Filled with fiber and vitamin A, peaches help dogs maintain healthy gums and shiny coats. In addition to being a choking hazard, the peach pit contains a sugar-cyanide compound called amygdalin that can be toxic after repeated exposure.

Can dogs eat pears?

Yes, dogs can eat pears. Generous in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, pears are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. Avoid feeding your dog the cores of pears because, like many fruits, the seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide. But even a single core's worth of seeds is enough to cause cyanide poisoning in small dogs.

Can dogs eat persimmons?

Yes, but dogs should avoid eating persimmons. Persimmons are a seedy fruit with a large pit. The risk of choking, intestinal blockage and possible cyanide poisoning outweigh any potential benefit from eating persimmons. Especially, considering fruit is not an essential component of a dog's diet.

Can dogs eat plantains?

Yes, dogs can eat plantains. Plentiful in dietary fiber, plantains are healthy anti-inflammatory snack for dogs. Raw plantain often causes gas in dogs. Cooking them will mitigate the increased risk of gas in dogs.

Can dogs eat plums?

Yes, but dogs dogs should avoid eating plums. Dogs can safely eat a plum's fleshy fruit, but the stem, leaves and pit are toxic. Plums are sugary and high on the glycemic index; so dogs who are overweight shouldn't eat them. Dogs who exhibit symptoms such as dilated pupils and difficulty breathing after consuming plums should be taken to the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat pineapple?

Yes, dogs can eat pineapple. Brimming with both B vitamins and vitamin C, pineapple is a nutrient-dense snack for dogs. However, dogs who are suffering from weight issues should steer clear of pineapple because of the fruit's extremely high concentration of natural sugars.

Can dogs eat pomegranate?

Yes, dogs can eat pomegranate. However, dogs should stick with pomegranate extracts and pomegranate-enhanced treats and avoid the actual fruit. While pomegranate promotes heart and liver health, the actual pomegranate seeds are rich with tannins that cause dogs to have an upset stomach.

Can dogs eat pumpkin?

Yes, dogs can eat pumpkin. Filled with soluble fiber, pumpkin helps dogs maintain healthy digestion and eases symptoms of diarrhea. The fiber in pumpkin acts as a prebiotic which stimulates the production of probiotics — the healthy gut bacteria that inhibits the spread of harmful bacteria. Dogs can eat cooked, raw and plain pumpkin from a can. A few tablespoons of plain, canned pumpkin is preferred because it contains a higher concentration fiber compared to other forms.

Can dogs eat quince?

Yes, dogs can eat quince. Brimming with antioxidants, calcium and potassium, quince helps dogs regulate blood pressure and inhibit oxidative damage from free radicals. However, like apples and pears, dogs should only eat the fleshy fruit and not the seeds, stem or leaves of the quince fruit. The foliage of quince fruit contains trace amounts of cyanide which is toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat raspberries?

Yes, but dogs should avoid eating raspberries. While raspberries are a low-calorie, low-sugar treat that is a beneficial antioxidant in moderate amounts, they also contain a high level of naturally-occurring xylitol. Xylitol is used as an alternative sweetener in human foods, but can cause hypoglycemia in dogs if consumed in large amounts.

Can dogs eat strawberries?

Yes, dogs can eat strawberries. Much like their blue cousins, strawberries are overflowing with antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. Strawberries even posses an enzyme that clean dogs' teeth.

Can dogs eat squash?

Yes, dogs can eat squash. Loaded with antioxidants and B vitamins, squash is an anti-inflammatory that boosts a dog's immune system and prevents infection. It's best to serve dogs plain, cooked squash because raw squash will cause dogs stomach aches, bloating and gas.

Can dogs eat tomatoes?

Yes, but dogs shouldn't eat tomatoes. While tomatoes are not toxic to dogs, they do contain tomatine which is dangerous compound for dogs. When eaten in large amounts, tomatine can cause stomach aches and diarrhea. If your dog eats tomatoes, they will most likely be ok. But watch for signs of allergies or digestive discomfort.

Can dogs eat cooked tomatoes? Yes, but be aware that canned, cooked tomatoes or tomato-based sauces often contain too much sodium for dogs to eat in a single serving. The cooking process diminishes the amount of tomatine, leaving a healthy dose of vitamins and the powerful anti-oxidant lycopene. Lycopene has been proven to reduce risk of degenerative disease in dogs.

Grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, however, contain only trace amounts of tomatine. They are generally considered safe to eat as an occasional treat. While they do not offer as many phytonutrients as the conventional tomato, grape and cherry tomatoes contain vitamin A and vitamin C, along with some fiber. Be sure to reduce the risk of chocking by cutting cherry and grape tomatoes in half before serving to dogs.

Be sure to keep dogs away from tomato stems and leaves. The green portions of most vegetable plants are toxic to dogs, and consuming them can cause digestive maladies like vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs may also experience tremors, seizures and a loss of coordination after ingesting tomato stems and leaves.

Can dogs eat green tomatoes?

No. Unripe, green tomatoes contain a high concentration of solanine. Solanine dissipates as the tomato ripens, but combined with tomatine, green tomatoes are exceptionally dangerous to dogs. Common sign of solanine and tomatine poisoning are:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Upset Stomach

Can dogs eat watermelon?

Yes, dogs can eat watermelon. Rich in both B vitamins and vitamin C, watermelon is a low-calorie treat that is ideal for overweight dogs. However, dogs should avoid eating watermelon seeds and rind. The rind can increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal distress, and the seed can cause intestinal blockage.

Can dogs eat zucchini?

Yes, dogs can eat zucchini. Brimming with fiber, vitamins and minerals, zucchini is a healthy, low-calorie treat for dogs. Dogs can eat both raw and cooked zucchini, but cooking the zucchini decreases the severity of gas.

Which meats, dairy and proteins are safe for dogs to eat?

Dogs are natural meat eaters. They love meat more than most humans. However, the seasonings used to spice meat like garlic and onions are toxic to dogs. Furthermore, dogs should not eat salt, butter and other fats in the same quantities that humans indulge in. Dogs should only eat plain, uncooked meats without spicy seasonings and added fats.

Dairy products are the leading source of food intolerance in dogs. Most dogs are somewhere on the lactose intolerance scale — but baring a specific food allergy, most dairy can be safely consumed by dogs.

An infographic of the protein and dairy dogs can and cannot eat.
credit: Ryan Tronier

Can dogs eat bacon?

Yes, dogs can eat bacon. However, dogs should avoid bacon because the high fat and salt content heightens the risk of developing pancreatitis. Sorry, dogs.

Bacon can also cause dogs to "bloat." Bloating occurs when the stomach expands because of excessive gas, food or fluid. The salt in bacon makes some dogs dehydrated and drink an excessive amount of water to satiate their thirst. The resulting bloat puts pressure on other organs in the body.

Dogs should only eat small amounts of cooked bacon. Never feed dogs raw bacon because of the presence of the parasite trichinella spirals larvae, which causes the parasitic infection know as trichinosis. Symptoms of trichinosis in dogs includes upset stomach, fever, pain, stiffness, vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs who eat raw bacon should be taken to the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat beef?

Yes, dogs can eat beef. Brimming with protein and essential fats, beef promotes muscle growth and helps dogs maintain a healthy coat. Dogs should eat grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef whenever possible.

Dogs should avoid raw beef. While raw food is a controversial topic for many pet parents, large-scale industrial meat production has reduced the quality of Western beef for both humans and dogs. The risk of salmonella and other bacterial contamination is too great.

Can dogs eat beef bones?

Yes, dogs can chew beef bones. However, dogs should only eat raw beef bones and avoid cooked bones. Cooking softens the bones which can splinter into shards and cause choking and internal abrasions. Plus, cooking removes the nutrients anyway.

A beef shank bone is good example of a the type of bone to give a dog.

Can dogs eat cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cheese. Filled with calcium, protein and essential fats, cheese provides many of the macronutrients and amino acids dogs needs on a daily basis. Cheese is calorically-dense; so dogs should only eat small amounts of cheese as a healthy treat.

Not all dogs digest dairy products well. Dogs who are lactose intolerant should avoid cheese.

Can dogs eat chicken?

Yes, dogs can eat chicken. Chicken is low in fat, but high in protein which makes it the perfect food for overweight dogs and dogs who are on a diabetic diet.

Dogs should not eat chicken that has been prepared for humans. People simply eat more salt and seasoning than dogs can safely handle. Often chicken is prepared with ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as onion and garlic. Dogs can eat plain, cooked chicken.

Never feed raw chicken to dogs. While the movement for raw food is growing, contemporary poultry farming has diminished the quality of meat for humans and dogs. Consult a veterinary dietician before putting your dog at risk of salmonella or other bacterial poisoning from raw chicken.

Can dogs eat chicken bones?

No, dogs should not eat chicken bones. There was a time when humans tossed the family dog a chicken carcass to chew on. But we now know that chicken bones are too small for dogs to safely chew without risk of choking or internal abrasions from splintered chicken bones.

Can dogs eat cream cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cream cheese. Rich in calcium, fatty acids and vitamin A, cream cheese helps dogs maintain strong bones and healthy coats. Cream cheese is not a natural food for dogs to eat, and they should only consume it as an occasional treat.

Can dogs eat cottage cheese?

Yes, dogs can eat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a low-fat, high-protein snack for dogs. However, some dogs do not digest diary well. So dogs who are lactose intolerant should not eat cottage cheese.

Can dogs eat eggs?

Yes, dogs can eat eggs. Packed with protein, eggs help dogs maintain strong muscle and healthy digestion. They even help settle upset stomachs.

Dogs should only eat plain, cooked eggs. Raw eggs present a risk of salmonella poising to dogs. It's not recommended to feed dogs fried eggs because the fat and seasonings are too much for dogs to safely eat.

Can dogs eat ham?

Yes, dogs can eat ham. Packed with protein, ham is a delicious treat for dogs. Nevertheless, there are concerns with feeding dogs ham. Primarily, ham is fatty. Dogs will develop pancreatitis and possibly diabetes due to weight gain when they eat overly-fatty foods too frequently.

Dogs should never eat ham that has been prepared for humans because it's typically too salty and seasoned, and there is also the possible presence of ingredients like garlic that are toxic to dogs. Dogs should only eat plain, unseasoned ham as an occasional treat.

Can dogs eat ice cream?

Yes, dogs can eat ice cream. Ice cream is not toxic to dogs. Still, dogs should not eat ice cream because it's rife with sugars and fat. Both of which can lead to weight gain, obesity and pancreatitis with regular, long-term exposure.

Another problem with feeding ice cream to dogs is that many adult dogs do not have the lactase enzyme to process the lactose in ice cream, which leads to bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

If you do feed your dog ice cream, be sure that it does not contain toxic ingredients like chocolate.

Can dogs drink milk?

Yes, dogs can drink milk. Milk is not toxic to dogs, and most are able to safely drink both cow's milk and goat's milk. Because many dogs have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, milk should only be consumed occasionally.

Can dogs eat pork?

Yes, dogs can eat pork. However, dogs should avoid pork that has been prepared for humans. They simply can not eat the same amount of salt and seasoning that people do. Plus, pork is often prepared with ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as garlic or onion.

Dogs can eat plain, cooked pork. Never feed a dog raw pork because of the presence of the parasite trichinella spirals larvae, which causes the parasitic infection know as trichinosis. Symptoms of trichinosis in dogs includes upset stomach, fever, pain, stiffness, vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs who eat raw pork should be taken to the veterinarian.

Pork is also high in fat and heightens the risk of developing pancreatitis. Dogs should only consume pork as an occasional protein-packed treat.

Can dogs eat salmon?

Yes, dogs can eat salmon. Loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps dogs maintain strong muscles and healthy coats. Salmon is also fairly low in fat which makes it a good food for overweight dogs or dogs who are on diabetic diets.

Dogs should only eat plain, cooked salmon. Raw salmon contains the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite which causes salmon poisoning disease.

Can dogs eat shrimp?

Yes, dogs can eat shrimp. Full of antioxidants and vitamin B12, shrimp is a healthy snack that supports a dog's metabolic processes and digestive health. Shrimp is an ideal treat for dogs who are obese or on low-fat diets.

Dogs should not eat raw shrimp. Uncooked shellfish contain harmful pathogens that can lead to bacterial infections. Only feed dogs shrimp that's is plain, peeled and cooked.

Can dogs eat soy?

Yes, dogs can eat soy. Soy is not toxic to dogs, and it's a common ingredient in may commercial dog foods. However, many veterinarians and dietitians warn against the long-term health impacts of soy-based products like tofu, edamame and soy protein.

New evidence supports the assertion that soy is unhealthy for dogs and humans. Soy is an estrogenic endocrine disruptor that puts hormones into an unbalanced state, which can lead to thyroid problems, obesity and diabetes.

Can dogs eat tuna?

Yes, dogs can eat tuna. However, dogs should limit their consumption of tuna because it contains higher levels of mercury than other fish. Instead of tuna, consider fresh fish like salmon, herring and flounder.

If your dog eats your tuna sandwich, they will not suffer any immediate side effects. But regular consumption of large amounts of tuna can lead to mercury poisoning. Symptoms of mercury poisoning in dogs include hair loss, abdominal swelling, loss of coordination and vomiting blood. Dogs who show any of these signs, especially after eating tuna, should visit a veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat turkey?

Yes, dogs can eat turkey. Replete with healthy fats and protein, turkey provides dogs with many of the daily macronutrients and amino acids they need to stay vigorous and healthy.

Dogs should not eat Thanksgiving turkey or turkey that has been prepared for humans. Generally, these types of turkey recipes contain toxic ingredients or are too rich in salt and fat for dogs to safely consume. Dogs should only eat plain, skinless turkey that has been cooked.

While many pet parents have adopted an alternative raw-food philosophy, dogs should not eat raw turkey. The Western meat industry produces poor quality poultry for both dogs and humans — neither should risk salmonella or other assorted bacterial poisonings.

Can dogs eat turkey bones?

No, dogs should not eat turkey bones. Once a common practice, veterinary standards now identify poultry bones as being too brittle for dogs to safely chew on. Brittle bones break and splinter too easily, and the resulting shards present hazards in the forms of choking and internal abrasions and cuts.

Can dogs eat yogurt?

Yes, dogs can eat yogurt. Stacked with calcium and protein, yogurt helps dogs develop and maintain strong bones and muscle. Plus, dogs and humans reap similar benefits of the probiotics found in yogurt.

Dogs should only eat plain, low-fat yogurt. Many brands of human yogurt contain sugars, artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that are problematic for a dog's health.

Dogs who are lactose intolerant should avoid yogurt.

Which grains, legumes and nuts are safe for dogs to eat?

Dietary restrictions are the crux of human wellness crazes, and the most common victims are carbohydrates sourced from grains, beans and nuts. But are grains safe for dogs to eat? Are beans and nuts healthy for dogs?

The reality is that grains, nuts and beans are another dietary non-issue for dogs, as they don't rely on any of these food sources for their daily macronutrients. Which is not to say that these foods don't provide nutrition to dogs. Rather, aside from dogs who suffer food allergies, restricting these types of food are more of a marketing ploy targeting health-conscious humans concerned about the health of their best friends.

Infographic of grains, legumes and nuts that dogs can and cannot eat
credit: Ryan Tronier

Can dogs eat almonds?

No, dogs should not eat almonds. While almonds are not as toxic to dogs as other varieties of nuts, they are not easily digested and can obstruct the esophagus, intestines and windpipe.

Almonds are also too fatty for dogs to safely eat. Over time, dogs develop pancreatitis from too much rich, fat human food.

Can dogs eat baked beans?

No, dogs cannot eat baked beans. While baked beans are not toxic to dogs, they do contain tomatoes and are high in both fat and sugars — which heightens the risk of developing pancreatitis. Pancreatitis occurs when a dog's pancreas swells or becomes inflamed, and it is typically caused by high-fat diets.

Can dogs eat black beans?

Yes, dogs can eat black beans. Loaded with fiber and protein, black beans help dogs burn fat and regulate blood sugar.

Dogs should eat cooked black beans and avoid eating raw or canned varieties. Raw black beans are hard for dogs to digest, and canned products typically have too much salt or seasonings like onion and garlic that are toxic to dogs.

Can dogs eat bread?

Yes, dogs can eat bread. Although there is little reason for dogs to eat bread, consuming it occasionally will not harm them. Problems can arise when dogs sneak sweet breads that are made with raisins or savory breads that contain onion or garlic. These types of ingredients are toxic to dogs, and longterm, regular consumption can lead to health problems.

Bread is mostly refined carbohydrates which convert to sugar once digested. It's best for dogs with weight problems to avoid bread.

Can dogs eat caraway seeds?

No, dogs can not eat caraway seeds. Many seeds are toxic to dogs, and caraway seeds are no exception. Commonly found in baked goods, these seeds contain carvone and limonene which cause mild vomiting and diarrhea.

Can dogs eat cashews?

Yes, dogs can eat cashews. Provided that your dog does not have a nut allergy, which can be very dangerous, cashews are safe for dogs to eat.

There are a few concerns with dogs and cashews. Primarily, cashews are often roasted and packaged alongside other nuts, like macadamia nuts, that are toxic to dogs. Secondly, cashews are fatty. Dogs with a weight problem or who are on a pancreatic diet should avoid eating cashews.

Can dogs eat chickpeas?

Yes. Chickpeas are considered a healthy food for dogs to eat, and they're even used as ingredients in some commercial dog food products. Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron and phosphorus. Be sure to serve only plain, cooked chickpeas to dogs. Many pre-made chickpea foods that have been prepared for humans contain spices that may be harmful to dogs such as nutmeg or excessive amounts of salt.

Can dogs eat fava beans?

No, dogs cannot eat fava beans. While many varieties of legumes are safe for dogs to eat, the PHA (phytohemagglutinin) in fava beans is toxic to dogs. Fava beans are not lethal, but PHA poisoning presents with excessive diarrhea and vomiting, which will lead to dehydration. Dogs who eat fava beans should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs eat grains?

Yes, dogs can eat grains. Unless your dog has an allergy — which is less common in canines than humans — grains are a healthy source of carbohydrates, fats and antioxidants. There are many types of grain such barley, corn, farro and quinoa, and they all have a different nutrient profiles which are both beneficial for dogs.

Can dogs eat kidney beans?

Yes, dogs can eat kidney beans. But be sure to feed your dog cooked kidney beans. Raw legumes contain lectin, which is toxic in large quantities to dogs. Kidney beans are a good source of plant-based protein, copper, folate, iron, manganese and vitamin K.

Can dogs eat lentils?

Yes, dogs can eat lentils. But raw lentils should be avoided. Like all legumes, raw lentils contain lectin that can cause gas and diarrhea when consumed in large quantities. Cooking lentils breaks down the lectin, making them safe for dogs to eat.

Can dogs eat macadamia nuts?

No, dogs cannot eat macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and even a small amount can cause poisoning symptoms including ataxia, tremors, weakness in the hind legs and vomiting. Dogs who eat macadamia nuts in either cookies, baked goods or otherwise should be taken to the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat oatmeal?

Yes, dogs can eat oatmeal. Oatmeal is high in antioxidants, fiber and linoleic acid, and it's an alternative carbohydrate for dogs who are sensitive to wheat or grain. The B vitamins in oatmeal help keep your dog's coat healthy.

It's best to use water — rather than milk — when preparing oatmeal for dogs, who do not process lactose as easily as humans. Raw oatmeal is difficult for dogs to digest; so always serve it cooked. Oatmeal should also be prepared plain without added sugars or fats, and avoid feeding dogs highly-processed brands of instant oatmeal.

Can dogs eat pasta?

Yes, dogs can eat pasta. While it certainly isn't offering nutrients their normal diets are not already providing, pasta will not harm dogs. Still, whole wheat pasta is low on the glycemic index and is an alternative carbohydrate for diabetic dogs.

Can dogs eat peanuts?

Yes, dogs can eat peanuts. Packed with protein, healthy fats and B vitamins, peanuts are a healthy snack for dogs. However, it's best to serve dogs plain, unsalted peanuts. The salt and oil from roasted peanuts are too rich for dogs and can even cause pancreatitis, but your dogs will be fine if they eat a few off the floor.

Can dogs eat peanut butter?

Yes, dogs can eat peanut butter as long as it is not sweetened with xylitol. Most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat, Xylitol is a sugar substitute, and it triggers hypoglycemia in dogs by dramatically lowering blood sugar levels. Xylitol-induced hypoglycemia can be life threatening if left untreated.

Can dogs eat pinto beans?

Yes, dogs can eat pinto beans. However, like most legumes, dogs should avoid eating raw or canned varieties. Rich in plant-based protein and fiber, pinto bean are an excellent meal for dogs on low-calorie or low-fat diets.

Can dogs eat quinoa?

Yes, dogs can eat quinoa. Quinoa is loaded with protein and carbohydrates, and it's often used as an ingredient in high-quality dog foods. Quinoa does contain a trace amount of saponin which can cause some dogs allergic reactions like vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Cooking quinoa breaks down the saponin and mitigates the risk of digestive issues.

Can dogs eat refried beans?

No, dogs cannot eat refried beans. Unlike common varieties of beans, refried beans are a human dish that contains unhealthy amounts of salt and fat, spices that cause irritation like cumin and chili powder, and garlic and onion — all of which are harmful to dogs.

Can dogs eat walnuts?

No, dogs should not eat walnuts. Walnuts are not toxic to dogs, but they do cause gastric intestinal upset and stomach blockage because dogs' digestive systems have difficulty breaking down the roughage.

Can dogs eat wheat?

Yes, dogs can eat wheat. Dogs do not have a nutritional requirement for wheat, but unless your dog has an allergy — which is less common in canines than humans — wheat is a healthy source of carbohydrates, fats and antioxidants. Wheat even has fibers that feed beneficial gut bacteria and helps keep dogs regular.

Which herbs and spices are safe for dogs?

An infographic of the herbs and spices that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Which common houseplants are toxic to dogs?

An infographic of common houseplants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Which human snacks and vices are safe for dogs to eat?

The lives of dogs and humans have been intertwined for thousands of years. Winning us over with their unconditional love and loyalty, dogs have become indispensable to humans in most societies. Whether as companions, guardians or sniffers — dogs have earned a permanent place among their humans.

Seeing as how they live among us, dogs are in constant contact with the human world. Our cars confuse and delight them. Our televisions and screens intrigue them. And our food — well, it's well known that dogs desire human delicacies more than anything. It's vital that we understand which of the foods, drinks and vices are harmful and potentially lethal to dogs.

An infographic of the human vices that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs
credit: Ryan Tronier

Can dogs drink alcohol?

No, dogs cannot drink alcohol. While alcohol toxicity in pets is not necessarily a common phenomenon, most pet parents do not regularly expose their pets to alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol will have a similar effect on dogs as it does on humans. However, due to their size, it does not take much for an alcohol buzz to turn into a trip to the veterinarian. Signs of alcohol toxicity in dogs include decrease in body pressure and blood pressure, difficulty breathing, seizures and lethargy.

Can dogs eat candy?

No, dogs cannot eat candy. If your dog has gotten into the Halloween or holiday candy, it's important to determine exactly what they have eaten. Sweets will most likely just give your dog a stomach ache or diarrhea, but chocolate, nut-based confections and artificially-sweetened treats can do more harm.

Many candy bars could contain nuts that are toxic or troublesome to dogs such as walnuts or macadamia nuts. Some candy is sweetened with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs in small doses. Chocolate and caffeine are the main concern with dogs eating candy, as both contain methylxanthines which are potentially fatal for small dogs.

Dogs who have eaten candy and show signs of trembling, respiratory difficulty and vomiting should visit the veterinarian.

Can dogs eat chocolate?

No, dogs cannot eat chocolate. Chocolate contains the methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine, both of which negatively impact dogs' central nervous systems and cardiovascular systems.

Signs of chocolate poisoning typically present within 6-12 hours after consumption and include tremors, abnormal hear rate, collapse, seizures and vomiting.

Large dogs can handle more theobromine and caffeine than small dogs. But regardless of size, chocolate can be fatal for dogs.

Can dogs drink coffee?

No, dogs cannot drink coffee. The caffeine in coffee and other caffeinated beverages is toxic to dogs. Caffeine is actual in the same family of methylxanthines as theobromine, which is the ingredient in chocolate that is toxic to dogs.

Accidentally drinking a bit of coffee will probably not adversely affect your dog, but ingesting diet pills, multiple coffee beans or an entire frappaccino can be fatal for small dogs.

Dogs who are suffering caffeine poisoning may exhibit signs of tremors, excessive panting and thirst, accelerated heart rate or seizures. Take dogs who have consumed coffee to the veterinarian for a consultation.

Can dogs eat honey?

Yes, dogs can eat honey. Honey is believed to have a wide variety of unsubstantiated health benefits including allergy relief and anti-inflammatory properties. Regardless of its efficacy as medicine, honey is relatively harmless to dogs.

The high sugar content is the principle concern with feeding dogs honey. Dogs who are obese or diabetic should avoid eating honey.

Can dogs eat pickles?

Generally, dogs can eat pickles. Dill pickles are safe for dogs to eat, but the same may not be said for other varieties of pickles. Onions and garlic are popular pickled vegetables, but they are also toxic to dogs and can cause anemia. Similarly, many brands of pickles may include garlic as a seasoning in the pickle brine. If you are unable to identify all of the ingredients in a jar of pickles, then keep them away from your dog.

Even with the absence of toxic ingredients, pickle brines are usually too salty for dogs to safely consume. Excess levels of salt leads to bloat, vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia and seizures.

Can dogs eat popcorn?

Yes, dogs can eat popcorn. Bustling with essential minerals like magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, popcorn can be a tasty treat that satisfies a dog's nutritional needs.

The problem with popcorn is that dogs should not eat the butter, oils and salt that top the popcorn. Dogs simply get too fat when they eat food intended for humans. With that in mind, it's best to prepare a small bowl of plain, air-popped popcorn for your pup during your next movie night.

Can dogs eat potato chips?

No, dogs should not eat potato chips. While not necessarily toxic for dogs, potato chips are high in calories and fat and can lead to obesity and even diabetes.

Dogs who eat too many potato ships could develop sodium poisoning because of the high amount of salt. Symptoms of sodium poisoning include dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

Furthermore, many brands of potato chips are produced with garlic and onion powders which are both toxic to dogs.

Can dogs drink tea?

No, dogs should not drink tea. Tea contains caffeine which elevates the heart rate and can be toxic to dogs when enough is ingested. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include tremors, seizures, collapse and vomiting.

Can dogs eat tobacco?

No, dogs cannot eat tobacco, cigarettes or cigarette butts. A toxic dose of nicotine for a dog is roughly .5 milligrams per pound of body weight. The average cigarette contains between 9-30 milligrams.

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning begin with an hour after ingestion and include tremors, drooling, hallucinations, vomiting and increased heart rate.

Can dogs eat tortilla chips?

No, dogs should not eat tortilla chips. While not toxic to dogs, tortilla chips are high in calories and fat. Both of which can lead to obesity, diabetes and pancreatitis.

Dogs who eat too many tortilla chip can develop sodium poisoning due to the excessive amounts of salt. Symptoms include dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

Citations and Sources

For over a decade, Cuteness has been committed to the health and well-being of dogs. The information in this guide was thoroughly researched from primary and secondary sources with the the National Research Council, Merck Veterinary Manual, the American Veterinary Medical Association, VCA Hospitals, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Association of American Feed Control Officials.